Thursday, June 16, 2011

Visit to Trebic

Playing "Viking" at the party on Friday

We will be doing our third camp with a church in Trebic. This last weekend we had the great privilege of meeting them and building relationships with those in the youth group. The youth group is so loving and passionately seeks Jesus. It was a joy to spend the weekend with them and get to know them. Friday we visited six classes between three different schools, had a party with the youth group and others from the schools we visited, then spent the rest of the weekend at a cabin in the woods with the youth group. Sunday we went to the church where we introduced ourselves, I shared my testimony, and Josh preached a great message on Colossians. After church Lukas and Honza took us to the top of the big clock tower in the middle of the city. It was a great weekend, and refreshing to spend time with the Body of Christ. Please pray for this group as they continue to prepare for camp!

Having lunch together at the cabin with the youth group

The top of the Clock tower in Trebic! L-R: Annie, Josh, Lukas, Honza

Meet the Team!

My team has been fantastic!! It’s been such a joy to serve with all of them! Allow me to introduce them to you!

L-R: Sarah, Brad, Annie, Josh, Brianne

Brad is studying at IVCC in Illinois and plans on pursuing becoming a philosophy professor and civil engineer in the future. He has a great mind and thinks a lot, which is a great asset to our team. I’ve known him for a long time, as we go to the same church in Ottawa: Illinois Valley Evangelical Free Church. He has been to Czech four times before, working with Hradec Kralove. This summer is his first internship, and it’s been a great joy working with him so far.

Annie is from Pennsylvania and goes to Messiah University. She is studying Athletic training and loves sports. She has an energetic spirit and has an eye for details. All of this has been so essential to our team dynamics! Annie worked with the Frydlant English Camp last summer and is back for the internship this summer! It’s been cool to have her experience and insight as well as her fun personality on the team.

Josh is my co-leader and has been amazing to lead with! He is from Hawaii and graduated from Moody Bible Institute a few years ago. He is currently on JV staff and raising support to move to Czech as a full time missionary. He has led teams for several years, and this is his fifth summer in Czech. He has a great gift of teaching and does a great job leading everyone. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn from such an experienced yet humble leader as I lead with him.

Brianne is from Colorado but goes to school at Huntington in Indiana where she is studying Theology and Religion. She is very energetic and relationships focused. She has been super encouraging and supportive to everyone and really has a servant’s heart. This is her first time in the Czech Republic, and has had a great and willing spirit as she goes into situations she’s never been in before. It’s been great to get to know her and to have her on the team.

The Amazing Race and Intern Training

Josh and i waiting for the interns to arrive!! :)

The team Pre-amazing Race: Brad and Josh in the back, Brianne, Annie, and me in the front


The Amazing Race was a difficult but fun three days that bonded us together as a team and helped us get to know each other. Throughout the race we were able to bond together, figure out how we work together, and support each other. We spent Wednesday and Thursday doing tasks all around Prague, and took an overnight train to Cesky Tesin where we did tasks during Friday morning. Friday afternoon we arrived to our final destination and came in tying with another team for 9th and 10th place (out of 17).

Climbing the stairs to find a task at the Stalin Monument

Getting another task from Autumn at a Road Block on the Race

Friday night through Wednesday we had a great time of training with all the intern teams who are going all over eastern europe. During that time we were taught how to teach English, how to lead small groups, about personality types, about how to serve well on a team, about spiritual gifts, about Czech culture, and so much more. During the evenings we were led in worship, heard testimonies, and taught by Dave Patty, the president of Josiah Venture, on Ephesians. Ephesians was the perfect book to go through before the summer as it talks about who we are in Christ, where we are in Christ, and how we can be together in Christ. We ended with the Czech interns going to a bbq on Wednesday and then leaving on Thursday. It was a fantastic time of preparation together before the summer of ministry started.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Me, Martina, and Jess (l-r) The awesome
girls I've been rooming with this week!

Sushi at the leadership retreat.
Tasty food, great fellowship!

Ahoj friends!

Tomorrow we are traveling for Prague to meet our interns at the airport on Wednesday morning. They will all fly out sometime tomorrow. Please pray for safe travels for them and their final day at home with all they need to do... finishing packing, goodbyes to friends and family, etc. Please pray for their families, too, as they are leaving their families for the summer.

When everyone arrives on Wednesday we will begin the Amazing Race. The Amazing Race will last from Wednesday to Friday and is much like the television show. The tasks we do and the places we have to figure out to go are meant to bond us together as a team, as it shows us our strengths and weaknesses and how we work together, develops trust, forces us to learn how to work together well, and to get to know each other. Because these three days are high in stress and pushes us to our limits (especially the interns who will be jet-lagged), we get to know each other at our best and probably worst moments. In my last two years of being an intern, this time has been incredibly helpful and crucial for bonding us together. PLEASE pray that the Amazing Race would do just that this year, that we would have good attitudes even through frustrations, that we would be unified, and that we would get to know each other well before the summer. I'm excited for our team (Josh, Brad, Annie, Brianne, and myself) to all be together and to meet each other!!!

Thank you so much for your prayers. I know the Lord hears them and I am incredibly grateful for each and every one.
Buh ti zehnej (God bless you)
Sarah Halm

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm in Czech again!!!

Ahoj (Hello)!

The last few days have been a little crazy, but so good! On Tuesday I flew out of Chicago and on Wednesday I arrived in Prague. It was a long time of travel, but thankfully I was able to fly with my co-leader, Josh, for my first flight (Chicago to Dusseldorf). When all of us intern leaders finally made it to Prague, we hopped on a train and traveled to Cesky Tesin, where the English Camp planning team lives.

After a lovely night of much needed sleep, and a day in town, we left for a cute hotel in Poland for our leadership retreat. Cesky Tesin is right on the Polish border, so it was only about a 40 minute trip. That evening we gathered together and worshiped through song and prayer. It was a sweet time to be together and just praise our Lord before the summer begins. We had a great time of getting to know each other as we all hung out during dinner and later into the evening.

After breakfast the next morning we studied Colossians 1 together. We will be going through Colossians throughout the summer as leaders, which is perfect because there will be four meetings, and there are four chapters in the book. We decided to kick off the summer with verses 28 and 29 as our charge: We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

Before lunch we had a meeting where Nate (the leader of all the Czech camps) described to us our responsibilities as leaders and answered all our questions. After hearing everything more defined, I began to feel more comfortable and more confident with leading. Feelings of inadequacy is something I’ve been struggling with for a while. Christ has been faithful in reminding me that His strength is sufficient and that I should boast in my weaknesses because when I am weak then He is strong. If God has called me to Czech this summer to co-lead, then He will give me everything I need to accomplish what He has for me to do. I’m realizing that I could lead out of my own strength, or I could lead out of His, and His strength is so much better.

We traveled back to Cesky Tesin yesterday afternoon, where Jess (another intern leader) and I are staying with Martina (a Czech who is part of the English Camp planning team). It’s been such a relaxing and sweet time to be together and get to know all the leaders, realizing we’ll be having similar but different experiences throughout the summer. I’m glad to have such an amazing group of brothers and sisters as a support team for each other.

The next couple of days we will be finalizing plans and resting up before we travel to Prague Tuesday evening. The next morning our interns arrive!!! We will meet them all at the airport and the Amazing Race will begin! As this time gets closer and closer, my excitement continues to grow. Please be praying for the rest of the interns as they pack and prepare themselves for the summer, and Josh and I as we finalize plans. Also be praying that our team would be unified and that God would bond us together deeply during the Amazing Race, and that we’d be pushing each other towards Christ from the very beginning.

I hope you all are doing well! Please let me know if there’s anything I can be praying for. Buh ti zehnej (God bless you)!

Prayer Requests:

-Team unity

-Intern’s preparations and travel (Annie, Brianne, and Brad are the other three on our team)

-Josh and I as we finalize plans

-The Amazing Race to bond us together

-A deep spiritual connection on the team where we push each other towards Christ

-The Czech churches we’ll be working with: Hradec Kralove, Havlickuv Brod, Trebic

-The US teams we’ll be working with from Alaska and two teams from Florida

Friday, July 2, 2010

a week of camp awaits

"To be part of a movement of God among the youth of Eastern Europe that finds its home in the local church and transforms society."
"To equip young leaders throughout Eastern Europe to fulfill Christ’s commission through the local church."

This is what Dave Patty, the founder of JV, heard when he was sitting with his feet in a lake, listening to God. I heard the JV story yet another time here at training, and it got me SO excited. JV started because Dave was listening to God. God gave him this vision! He wants to move here, and He IS moving here! Year after year hungry students get to experience the love of Christ and here the good news of the Gospel. Each year new leaders rise up, believers and nonbelievers make decisions to move closer to Christ. And this is not because of anything we do, it's because God wants to move. It's because God is changing hearts and revealing Himself. It's because of the grace He's given us in our personal lives. How exciting is this!

We are headed to camp today. American team training has gone great, and I already feel a deep unity between our intern team, the Czech team, and the American team from Arizona. We will be setting the camp up tonight and getting ready for the campers from Hradec Kralove to come tomorrow at 11am. The camp will last until next Saturday. PLEASE be praying. I covet your prayers. God hears our prayers, and wants to answer them.

Specific Prayer Requests:
- Safe travel for our teams today and for the campers tomorrow
- The campers hearts to be softened and ready to hear the Gospel
- The gospel to be proclaimed clearly and boldly
- The Holy Spirit to come to the camp and work through us
- For the believers (the intern, American, and Czech teams) to be obedient to the Spirit and to follow with reckless abandon
- For strength during camp as we won't get much sleep
- For English classes in the mornings
- For sports times and free-times in the afternoons
- For the evening programs where we will be sharing stories from the Bible about redemption
- For Thursday night when we share the Gospel
- That students would make a decision to move a step closer to Christ
- That my back would not be an issue (it hurts again)
- Team unity and love
- That the guys only and girls only seminars would go well (I'm speaking to the guys with another Czech girl, and I'm still not really sure what to say. It will also be a time of Q and A)
- That, above all things, God would be glorified

Thanks for your prayers and your support. I am excited to see God show up at this camp. Please pray boldly. We serve a mighty God.

Buh ti zehnej!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the last days before the craziness begins

My team and I are back at Malenovice for American Team training before our first camp. June has flown by so fast, and I can't believe camps are going to begin already! The last week has been spent doing a work project, and then spending the last couple of days together in Stramberk on a team vacation.

The boys painting the garage

The work project was both fun and tiring. We went to Selah, which is Josiah Venture's retreat cabin for missionaries. The cabin is built, and they are working on furnishing the inside and finishing the deck. While our team was there, we got to help pick up the construction site, level off the ground under the deck, and paint the garage. It was a good time to work together as a team, and serve at the same time. It was also a good time to work out some things with our team before camps began. On a team that's been together for awhile, it's easy to take advantage of the time we have together rather than intentionally. Because the work project brought this out, we've been able to be intentional with each other and focus on truly loving one another like Christ loves us. The last few days after that has been amazing.

Autumn and Lynn leveling the dirt under the deck

The day after our team work project, we were able to go out to lunch with Katka, a Czech who is on staff with Josiah Venture. Her testimony is amazing, and it was so great to hear how her life as a missionary has been. She became a Christian at English Camp when she was about 15 years old, but her parents did not allow her to go to church or youth group until she was 18. She met with a Christian each week, and then went into ministry with JV. Her heart for Christ and for discipleship is incredible, and her story was so encouraging to hear.

Patrick, Katka, and Autumn at lunch

After lunch we got on a train and headed to Stramberk for a team vacation. We arrived on Saturday evening and left Monday morning. Stramberk is a small village with an interesting story. It's famous for a time when Christians were being persecuted by Turks who were invading the country. The Christians were hiding out in Stramberk from the Turks who would kill the Christians, then chop off their ears and send them back for proof to their leader that they were killing them. So the Christians prayed the night the Turks were in the valley, and they were saved because the dam came down and flooded the valley, killing all the Turks in the valley. So all over Stramberk were these "ears"... or cookies called ears, to go along with the story.

Lynn and I enjoying Stramberske Usi (Stramberk Ears) with
whipped cream, chocolate, and fruit sauce. SO GOOD!

During the team vacation we shared testimonies with each other and were able to hear what God has done in each other's lives to get to this point. It was a great time of encouraging and challenging each other, as well as going deeper.

The Stramberk Tower

Now we are at American team training. Our American team is just arriving now... so please be praying for unity among teams, a willingness to learn, and time of rest before camp. Thanks for your prayers and support.